Oregon Beach News, Friday 11/12 – Port of Coos Bay to Develop Shipping Terminal, 51st Anniversary Celebration of ‘The Exploding Whale’ Takes Place in Florence this Weekend

The latest news stories across the state of Oregon from the digital home of the Oregon coastal cities, OregonBeachMagazine.com

Friday, November 12, 2021

Oregon Beach Weather

Today– Rain. High near 63. Breezy, with a south southwest wind 16 to 18 mph, with gusts as high as 28 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. New precipitation amounts between a quarter and half of an inch possible.

Saturday– Partly sunny, with a high near 62. East northeast wind around 6 mph.

Sunday– A 30 percent chance of rain, mainly before 5pm. Cloudy, with a high near 61. South wind around 7 mph.

Monday– Rain likely, mainly after 11am. Cloudy, with a high near 58. Chance of precipitation is 70%.

Tuesday– A chance of rain, mainly before 5pm. Partly sunny, with a high near 53.

Port of Coos Bay to Develop Shipping Terminal

The Port of Coos Bay is set to acquire the former Georgia Pacific mill site and has plans of developing the property into a shipping terminal.

“The port for many years now has been looking to acquire a maritime terminal,” said Port of Coos Bay marketing director Margaret Barber. “All the terminals in the bay right now are privately held so we get a lot of inquiries from all over the world. We started with the current owner of the Georgia Pacific mill site about six months ago negotiating a purchase price, and we are happy to announce we entered into a purchase of sale.”

In 2019, the 162-acre site closed down as a mill, putting nearly 120 people out of work. Plus, the area is bracing for another economic blow in January with the impending closure of the Shutter Creek Correctional Institution.

Port officials hope all of those jobs will come back with the creation of the terminal.

“Really with a facility like this, the exact number of jobs will be dependent on what will be done to the facility but we feel very confident we’ll be able to restore approximately the same number of jobs that were lost through Georgia Pacific,” said Barber. “And these will be good-paying jobs, family-wage jobs.”

The old Georgia Pacific mill site is expected to transport bulk and break-bulk cargo. Containerized items are expected to move through another development pending on the North Spit.

“Happily, there’s already a wharf there,” said Barber. “It is served by rail right now. We’re going to have to add more rail infrastructure there to support increased volume.” Port officials also said sustainability is a priority.

“When you look at what’s happening on the west coast with 70, 80 ships parked off the San Pedro Bay and Los Angeles, Long Beach, they’re not shutting off their engines and still running on auxiliary which is emitting greenhouse gas,” said Barber. “I think if we can offer something much more efficient here, we can reduce some of the excess congestion-relation greenhouse gas effects that we’re seeing.”

The congestion is also harboring another problem: supply chain backlog and increased truck traffic.

“There’s a huge problem nationwide and globally,” said Barber. “This certainly isn’t going to be a panacea and unlock all the supply chains. But we certainly believe this will offer a really important option for people to move through a port that’s a lot less congested.”

Oregon’s Adventure Coast is a tourist information center serving the Coos Bay and North Bend areas. Executive director Janice Langlinais said she expects business tourism to expand in the area with the acquisition.

“From a business or essential travel perspective, we do anticipate this will have a very positive impact on us,” said Langlinais. “We know that they will be bringing in construction workers. We know that the truck drivers who will be coming through with the goods or services or materials they will be transporting, those workers need a place to stay. That will assist in keeping our hotel rooms full.”

Langlinais said she also does not expect there to be any negative impacts to leisure tourism in the area with the purchase.

Coos Bay Chamber of Commerce executive director Timm Slater said he is excited to see this investment, especially with the recent blow from the pandemic.

“We’re in a very unique spot on the coast here,” said Slater. “We have what I like to call a multifaceted economy. We do have tourism. We do have manufacturing. We do have regional support services like Bay Area Hospital. Realistically with a commercial port and commercial airport, that enables a lot of different engines to supply resources and jobs to the area.”

The port expects to close the sale by the end of the year. Once that’s complete, the port will conduct environmental, permitting, engineering and design work.

The project is partially funded by the Coronavirus State Fiscal Recovery Fund. Port officials said the remainder of the cost will be paid with a loan acquired through Business Oregon. There is no burden on taxpayers, they said. If all goes as planned, construction is expected to begin mid-2023.

51st Anniversary Celebration of “The Exploding Whale” Takes Place in Florence this Weekend

The infamous incident took place November 12, 1970, but began a few days earlier when a deceased whale washed up. State officials took a different approach to get rid of the now-smelly corpse and decided to blow it up.

All these years later, it remains a time where people reflect a bizarre part of Oregon’s history and are reminded how not to dispose of a whale. A park was even named after the event.

A public 51st anniversary exploding whale of a celebration will kick off Saturday, Nov. 13, with a 2 p.m. toast featuring Florence’s very own Exploding Whale Pale Ale at Homegrown Public House and Brewery, 24 Laurel St., in historic Florence Old Town.

The family-friendly celebration will feature an evolving community participatory art installation, special guests, whale swag, music, and a Whale Trail list of Florence businesses offering activities and promotions to commemorate the 51st anniversary.

All are invited to bring small offerings and homages to the whale to be placed at the art installation throughout the day on the east side of Homegrown Public House. The exhibit is meant to be fanciful, fun and will naturally evolve throughout the day into the evening when it glows with lights and the reflections of the colorful contributions. Florence’s official-unofficial whale mascots, Flo and Rence, will also be present to pose for photos with people.

Not to miss is a visit to the Exploding Whale exhibit at the Siuslaw Pioneer Museum across the street from Homegrown at 278 Maple St., open from noon to 4 p.m. The exhibit has actual whale bones from the honored whale, and the museum is full of interesting Florence historical displays.

More details about the celebration are on the Facebook event page at tinyurl.com/23nz38jw or call co-sponsors BeauxArts Fine Art Materials at 541-991-8213 or email WhaleGoBoom97439@gmail.com

Stormy Conditions Knock Out Power in Astoria

Stormy conditions knocked out power to more than 1,000 customers in Astoria late Thursday afternoon, according to Pacific Power. The utility estimated that power would be restored by late Thursday evening and into this morning.

Oregon reports 1,033 new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases, 75 new deaths

PORTLAND, Ore. — There are 75 new COVID-19 related deaths in Oregon, raising the state’s death toll to 4,730, Oregon Health Authority reported at 12:01 a.m. today.

Oregon Health Authority (OHA) reported 1,033 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 as of 12:01 a.m. today, bringing the state total to 376,372.

The new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases reported today are in the following counties: Baker (7), Benton (16), Clackamas (91), Clatsop (7), Columbia (15), Coos (23), Crook (2), Curry (8), Deschutes (111), Douglas (49), Gilliam (1), Grant (1), Harney (5), Hood River (3), Jackson (54), Jefferson (12), Josephine (28), Klamath (16), Lake (13), Lane (62), Lincoln (17), Linn (45), Malheur (12), Marion (79), Morrow (3), Multnomah (136), Polk (27), Sherman (1), Tillamook (8), Umatilla (27), Union (1), Wallowa (2), Wasco (7), Washington (100) and Yamhill (44).

Reminder: State health officials to add more than 500 COVID-19 deaths due to technical error

Over the coming weeks, OHA will report approximately 550 deaths among people who died with COVID-19, but whose deaths only became recently known to state epidemiologists due to a technical computer error. 

This will result in higher death totals as the backlog is resolved. More details can be found here.

COVID-19 weekly cases decline, deaths and hospitalizations rise

OHA’s COVID-19 Weekly Report, released today, shows a decrease in daily cases and increases in hospitalizations and deaths.

OHA reported 6,643 new cases of COVID-19 during the week of Monday, Nov. 1, through Sunday, Nov. 7. That represents a 16% decrease from the previous week and the fewest since the last week of July.

The overall incidence of reported COVID-19 cases in Oregon varied by county vaccination rate, but continues to be lower in counties with higher vaccination rates and the lowest in the five counties where the vaccination rates were more than 70%.

There were 378 new COVID-19 hospitalizations, up from 313 last week.

There were 243 reported COVID-19-related deaths, up from 82 reported the previous week. This increase is a result of ongoing data reconciliation of COVID-19-related deaths that primarily occurred from May to August 2021, as reported last month.

There were 135,539 tests for COVID-19 for the week of Oct. 31 through Nov. 6. The percentage of positive tests was 6.4%, down from 7.4% the previous week.

Today’s COVID-19 Weekly Outbreak Report shows 76 active COVID-19 outbreaks in senior living communities and congregate living settings, with three or more confirmed cases and one or more COVID-19 related deaths.

COVID-19 hospitalizations

The number of hospitalized patients with COVID-19 across Oregon is 509, which is one fewer than yesterday. There are 125 COVID-19 patients in intensive care unit (ICU) beds, which is two fewer than yesterday.

There are 56 available adult ICU beds out of 675 total (8% availability) and 281 available adult non-ICU beds out of 4,096 (7% availability). 

11/10/2021 Available Beds (and Percentage of Staffed Beds Available)
StatewideRegion 1Region 2Region 3Region 5Region 6Region 7Region 9
Adult ICU beds available56(8%)24(7%)2(2%)13(15%)9(15%)1(10%)2(4%)5(19%)
Adult non-ICU beds available281(7%)51(3%)6(1%)72(12%)34(8%)10(20%)59(14%)49(41%)

The total number of patients in hospital beds may fluctuate between report times. The numbers do not reflect admissions per day, nor the length of hospital stay. Staffing limitations are not captured in this data and may further limit bed capacity.

Note: Please do not visit an emergency department for COVID-19 testing, unless you require emergency care for your symptoms.

Emergency departments in Oregon are under significant strain. You can find a test here.

If you have a medical condition that doesn’t require emergency care, contact your provider. An urgent care center may also help you get the care you need and will save emergency departments from added strain. More information about hospital capacity can be found here.

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Oregon Attorney Files Lawsuit Against Pharmaceutical Company

Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum filed a lawsuit on Wednesday against pharmaceutical company Endo, alleging that the company deceptively marketed the opioid Opana for more than a decade. The state’s complaint alleges that Endo misrepresented the risks and benefits of Opana, which Rosenblum’s office said was an extended-release opioid similar to Purdue Pharma’s OxyContin. It was pulled from the market in 2017 at the request of the FDA.

The Oregon Department of Justice began investigating Endo in March of 2016. The next year, Oregon began to lead a multi-state investigation into the company. Rosenblum ultimately decided to move ahead with a complaint on behalf of Oregon alone, issuing a notice of intent to sue on October 4.

Oregon’s suit draws parallels between Endo and the cases against Purdue Pharma, alleging that Endo followed in Purdue’s footsteps after the success of OxyContin through aggressive marketing. In 2007, Oregon and 25 other states settled a multi-state lawsuit against Purdue Pharma. The state sued Purdue again in 2018 for alleged
violations of the 2007 agreement, and sued the Sackler family — the owners of Purdue — in 2019.

Klamath Community College Breaks Ground on New Apprenticeship Center

Klamath Community College celebrated the construction kickoff of the school’s Apprenticeship Center with a groundbreaking ceremony Wednesday.

The 32,000-square-foot building is slated to open in fall 2022.

The Apprenticeship Center will span four acres and will provide space for hands-on training and programs for transitioning high schoolers, increase the college’s career-technical program offerings and offer specialized structural and wildland fire science training.

Apprenticeships will include: electrical, millwright, plumbing, pipefitter, machinist, carpentry, cement mason, drywall,
interior and exterior painter specialist, and sheet metal fabrication, including HVAC.

Students enrolled in fire sciences and emergency medical operations programs through an Apprenticeship Center fire academy will gain real-world experience training in an exterior fire yard and fire tower.

Steve Tippin, chair of the KCC Foundation, said in 2022 the KCC Foundation will launch a capital campaign to raise funds to fill the center with
equipment and technology that will allow instructors and partners to provide state-of-the-art programming for students enrolled in Apprenticeship Center courses.

Oregon State Police Trooper critically injured in a police incident on Highway 30 — Columbia County

Thursday, November 11, 2021, at around 3:31 P.M., OSP Troopers were involved in a police incident involving a fleeing suspect on Highway 30 milepost 31 west of St. Helens, when the suspect vehicle rammed an OSP Patrol car and struck an OSP Trooper. 

The Trooper was taken by ground ambulance to Emanuel Hospital in critical condition.  The investigation is being handled by the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office. 

The Oregon State Police will not be releasing any information about the incident.  The identity of the OSP Trooper is not being released at this time.  Oregon State Police

Fatal vehicle vs. pedestrian crash on I-5- Marion County

On November 10, 2021, at approximately 7:38 P.M., Oregon State Police and emergency personnel responded to a motor vehicle collision involving a bicyclist on Interstate-5 northbound at exit 260 near Salem.

A preliminary investigation revealed that a bicyclist identified as Anthony Lee Garza (61) was riding his bicycle across the northbound lanes of Interstate-5 when he was struck by a pickup truck operated by Benjamin J Miller (35) of Gervais. Miller remained at the scene and is cooperating with law enforcement.

Garza was pronounced deceased at the scene. OSP was assisted by Salem Fire and Medics, the Keizer Police Department, and the Oregon Department of Transportation. The investigation is ongoing.

Serious injury crash involving I-205- Clackamas County

On November 10, 2021, at 9:37 A.M., Oregon State Police responded to a multi-vehicle crash on Interstate-205 SB at milepost 12. The investigation revealed that a black Volkswagen GTI operated by Tyler Nicholas Pacheco (28), was southbound when it struck multiple vehicles and an Oregon Department of Transportation worker, who was working outside of his vehicle. 

The victim, Grant RIEDEL (38), was transported to Oregon Health Science University with serious injuries. PACHECO stayed on the scene and cooperated with the investigation. OSP was assisted on scene by Day-N-Nite towing, Clackamas Fire, and the Oregon Department of Transportation. 

This is an ongoing investigation and no further information will be released at this time. 

The Oregon State Police is asking anyone who witnessed this incident to please call OSP Dispatch 800-442-2068 or OSP from your mobile phone.  Reference case number SP21316723. Oregon State Police

Fatal multi-vehicle crash Highway 97- Deschutes County

On November 10, 2021, at 4:51 P.M., OSP responded to a multi-vehicle crash on Highway 97 milepost 114 near Terrebonne.  A silver Hyundai Elantra, driven by Karl Thompson (58) of Metolius, was southbound on Highway 97 when it attempted to pass a southbound black Dodge Ram on the shoulder. 

The Dodge Ram was driven by Kyle Jensen (32) of Redmond.   When the Elantra reentered the southbound lane, it struck the front of the Dodge Ram, sending the Elantra into the northbound lane.  The Elantra then struck a Nissan Pathfinder, driven by Jessica Shaw (33) of Metolius.  The Pathfinder was pushed into the southbound lane when it was struck by a Dodge Tow Truck, driven by Austin Ontjes (26) of Terrebonne. 

The driver of the Pathfinder, Jessica Shaw, was pronounced deceased at the scene. The passenger in the Elantra, Emmanuel Pina-Lopez (29) of Madras, was transported to an area hospital with serious injuries.  The Driver of the Tow Truck, Austin Ontjes reported minor injuries.  Karl Thompson, Kyle Jensen, his passengers along with the passenger of the Tow Truck did not report any injuries. 

The highway was closed for 6 hours.  OSP was assisted at the scene by Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office, Redmond Fire, Redmond Police Department, and the Oregon Department of Transportation.  The investigation is ongoing. Oregon State Police 

The Modoc Nation, a federally-recognized Native American tribe based in Oklahoma and descended from Klamath Basin native people, hired Ken Sandusky to represent the tribe in their traditional homelands.

Sandusky previously spent 14 years as a public affairs specialist with the U.S. Forest Service, much of that on the Modoc National Forest.

He serves on the Modoc County Fire Safe Council and Modoc Fish, Game and Recreation commission. Born and raised in Klamath Falls, Sandusky attended Riverside Elementary and graduated from Klamath Union and Oregon Tech. He is a member of the Choctaw Nation.

Sandusky is now managing all aspects of the Modoc Nation’s efforts in Siskiyou and Modoc counties.

The tribes’ top priority is to revive the overgrazed ranchlands recently purchased by the tribe near Tulelake, with the goal of establishing a new branch of the Modoc Nation’s bison herd.

The Modoc Nation descends from Modocs who were removed to Oklahoma after the Modoc War at Captain Jack’s Stronghold in what is now the Lava Beds National Monument. It is based in Miami, Okla., and is now expanding interests into Northern California, according to
the tribe.


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